Tuesday, April 16, 2024

REVIEW | Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 premium foldable smartphone

The last Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event dropped two major premium smartphones to the general public representing the third generation Samsung foldable devices: the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 – walking the border between the tablet and smartphone form factor, and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 – a nostalgic flip phone designed for the modern world.  

With the existence of the Galaxy Z Flip4, Samsung flipped the script on how users experience smartphones, packing all the benefits and advantages of a foldable in the chassis of a compact clamshell that easily fits in the palm of your hands.  

In a span of three years, the Galaxy Z Flip4 has come a long way in terms of design and features. Versus the first Flip foldable in 2020, the new generation now comes with Gorilla Glass Victus+ protection on both the front and cover displays, 120Hz screen refresh rate, a 4nm processor form Qualcomm, more memory and storage configuration options, stereo speakers, and a slightly larger battery with faster charging capacity.  

When compared side-by-side with its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, it is evident that the brand went for optimization and refinement – not major generational upgrades or redesign. In fact, most of the hardware features remained intact, save for the processor, the main camera sensor, and a few others.  

Based on Samsung’s official product information, the Galaxy Z Flip4 now comes with a more optimized version of FlexCam and application support, updated imaging features and tools aimed at enhancing user convenience, a slimmer hinge paired with straightened edges and contrasting hazed and glossy surfaces, new swipe gestures, and a 23% brighter main sensor.  

Design and display

The Galaxy Z Flip4 is the epitome of one-handed use. The profile is narrow enough that it rests comfortably in the palm of your hand, whether it’s in folded or unfolded mode, while its weight is balanced without it feeling too bulky or fragile.  

Since Samsung intended the Galaxy Z Flip4 to have a more streamlined design, the bezels surrounding the dynamic AMOLED 2X screen are noticeably thinner – giving the impression that the Galaxy Z Flip4 is now shorter. The aesthetic components were also flipped with this model, now it’s the frame that has a glossy finish while the glass is matte.  

The ergonomics regarding the glossy and matte surfaces also makes sense with the Galaxy Z Flip4. Since it can be used at a 90-degree angle for viewing content or video chats, it’s a no-brainer that the bottom half is fully matted glass, while the top half has a glossy rectangular camera island that doubles as a selfie viewfinder.  

The earpiece above the under-display camera also serves as its stereo speaker, a feature that was absent with the first Flip device. Another flipped situation is the reduced hinge profile, while the frame is made thicker. This produces the illusion that the device itself is considerably thinner.  

Performance and specs

One area where the Galaxy Z Flip4’s size caused an adverse effect is when it comes to performance. Although it is powered by the current fastest Android platform – the 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, the device can only access its peak performance for a short time before experiencing throttling to prevent overheating.  

However, since it is not marketed as a gaming smartphone, casual tasks and average resource demands are handled with ease. When performing at its peak in an extended amount of time, users can experience minimal heating just below the secondary display.  

The higher screen refresh rate with dynamic capability ensures that the scrolling experience on the Galaxy Z Flip4 is always smooth and without hiccups. Although there are three storage options available, the Flip4 only comes with 8GB of memory. In our tests, rarely have we experienced any slowdowns caused by the memory limitation.  

When it comes to day-to-day performance, users will see experience that opening and closing apps are snappy, multitasking is a breeze, and file transfers are exceptionally quick. Playing at 60 FPS is possible, 1200 nits of peak brightness enables users to play even under direct sunlight, and the processor plays a major role in boosting image processing rate.  

Camera

The cameras, although impressive and powerful, only delivers marginal advantages over its predecessor. This doesn’t mean that the cameras perform worse, it just goes to show that Samsung prioritized the use cases of the folding mechanics to add convenience when taking images or videos with the Galaxy Z Flip4.  

Thanks to the brighter sensor, snaps under well-lit conditions produce more details and dynamic range. Wide-angle shots are less distorted compared to other brands, color reproduction is little more vibrant than the reality, and the subject-background separation for portrait shots is efficient and not overpowering.  

Software and UI

The Galaxy Z Flip4 runs on Samsung’s own One UI version 4.1.1 built on top of Android 12. With this model’s user interface, the brand made sure that users can do more with the dual display and unique form factor.  

The cover screen can actually be programmed to be always-on, and tapping twice gives access to several convenient widgets like the music player, alarm setting, a timer, a calendar, the weather, personalized reminders, and even a speed dial function. It also has a notification tray and the option to match the watch face with a linked Samsung wearable.  

Beyond the cover screen, everything else concerning the UI is the same with other Samsung phones, except maybe for the lack of DeX support.  

Conclusion

If you own a Galaxy Z Flip3, there’s no pressing need to upgrade to the Galaxy Z Flip4. For users looking into buying their first foldable device, however, the Flip4 is a good entry point. The latest Flip foldable offers a refined and optimized user experience, its built tougher and performs better overall, and its unique form factor and small footprint is definitely an eye-catcher no matter the time or place.    

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